What We're Watching: Angry India

Indians hit the streets – Large demonstrations have erupted in the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata over a new bill that offers religious minorities from neighboring countries a faster path to Indian citizenship, in practice excluding Muslims. Hundreds have been injured in clashes with police, and PM Narendra Modi has called for calm. Critics charge that any religious-based exception to current law violates the secular principles enshrined in India's constitution. Some warn that this is an attempt by the ruling party, the Hindu nationalist BJP, to bolster its political support by stoking anti-Muslim feeling among Hindus at a time of slowing economic growth.


Thais do too – This weekend, several thousand people in Bangkok protested the army-dominated government's moves to outlaw the opposition Future Forward party. The demonstrations were the largest since a coup in 2014 put an end to years of increasing tensions between "red shirt" Thais loyal to the exiled populist billionaire, and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and "yellow shirts" loyal chiefly to the monarchy and the military. Future Forward, which is also led by a billionaire, the 41-year old Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has loose ties to the red shirt movement but has cast itself chiefly as the leading voice of younger Thais fed up with the political deadlock and the army's influence over the state. The authorities allowed the protests over the weekend, but as Future Forward looks to hold larger demonstrations in the coming weeks, we're watching to see how the government – and other opposition groups – respond.

The greatest goal in protest history – Football/soccer fans will argue forever about who scored the greatest goal of all time on the pitch, but when it comes to street protests, this Lebanese guy's no-hands handling of a tear gas canister in mid-volley is up there with Zidane's 2002 one-touch beauty against Leverkusen. You have to see it to believe it.

What We're Asking

Sports and China's human rights abuses – Speaking of football, another professional sports club found itself enmeshed in global politics over the weekend, when Arsenal star Mesut Özil, who is of Turkish descent, blasted Beijing for its well-documented persecution of Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group. In China, where Arsenal is immensely popular, state TV immediately dropped an Arsenal match broadcast. Arsenal quickly disavowed Özil's comments. The episode recalled the NBA's recent run-in with China over the same issue. So we ask you: should professional sports clubs or leagues use their visibility and reach to take a stand on major human-rights issues? Should players weigh in? Or should sports and politics be kept separate? Let us know here.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.

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It's been nine years since Libya's long-time despot Muammar Qaddafi was killed in a violent uprising, bringing the oil-rich country to the brink of civil war. That conflict entered a new stage last year when violence between warring factions competing for territory intensified around Tripoli, Libya's capital, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 civilians. In recent weeks, fighting has intensified again, and ceasefire talks have failed. Here's a look at who's who and how we got here.

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India's supreme court to weigh in on citizenship law – India's southern state of Kerala filed a lawsuit in India's Supreme Court, claiming that a contentious new citizenship law that's caused nationwide protests is discriminatory and violates India's secular constitution. Kerala is the first state to legally challenge the new law backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, which opens a path to Indian citizenship for migrants from neighboring countries— provided that they are not Muslims. In addition to the Kerala action, at least some of the 60 petitions filed by individuals and political parties are also likely to be heard by the court next week. Amid a climate of deepening uncertainty for India's 200 million Muslims, we're watching closely to see how the court rules.

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Vladimir Putin has held power for twenty years now, alternating between the prime minister's seat and the presidency twice. He has made himself so indispensable to Russia's political system that even the speaker of the legislature has mused that "without Putin, there is no Russia." The constitution says he can't serve as president again after his current term ends in 2024 – but he'll find a way to keep power somehow. As he starts to lay those plans, here's a look back at his approval rating over the past two decades.